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Conversations with Cynthia Perez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cynthia Perez.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Going into the summer after my sophomore year of college, I decided to transition to a plant-based lifestyle. (I hate the word “diet” I think there are so many negative connotations to it.) I had never experienced any health, stomach, or digestive issues prior, it was just something that I wanted to do for myself. I never intended to be fully vegan but after a month or two I had learned and taught myself so much about health and nutrition along with the negative aspects of animal agriculture that I knew it was the right decision for me.

I’ve always had a passion for taking pictures and nearly a year into my vegan journey I created “soyvanillatte,” or as my friends and I call it, SVL; as a way to share my vegan eats. I started it mostly for the sake of my own memory to document what or where I’ve eaten, from restaurants to my own home cooking and recipes, to the never-ending new vegan products launching in stores,

I’ve now been vegan for five and a half years and “SVL” will turn four in December, I started my account while I was home in Chicago for winter break and I slowly gained a decent following and began networking with a lot of vegan or plant-based food companies as well as local restaurants. I’ve since moved to Kansas City and networked with even more brands that fit my niche. The last year or two especially the brand deals or offers for sponsored content have really poured in and while I turn down most, I am so passionate about the brands I do choose to work with, from the product to the message behind it.

It’s funny because before I was vegan I thought the same thing that so many others do- “vegans are so annoying” or try to force it down your throat. Personally, I’ve learned that it’s because after being vegan for five years I have learned so so much about health and wellness that I want nothing more than to just share my knowledge with everyone, and Soyvanillatte allows me to do that and whoever chooses to follow me.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Oh goodness no. There have been so many bumps in the road and I know there will be so many more to come. I started Soyvanillatte as a sort of hobby and passion project. Somewhere along the way, I chose to monetize it and it started to feel like work and no longer something that was “just for fun.”

I’ve always put a lot of pressure on myself to put my all into everything I do and creative burnout is so real in the social media world. I’m embarrassed to admit the amount of times I’ve thrown my phone at a wall or cried on my kitchen floor all because I couldn’t get the right picture or had to recipe test 600 times before getting it right. My personal and social life also have an extreme effect on my creativity and desire to share any sort of content, it get’s difficult when there’s people or brands counting on me to share on social media.

The Instagram algorithm is also complete trash and for a while, it was so hard to disassociate my name and work from numbers that I took a break from posting, it was so discouraging when I would post content I worked hard on and it wouldn’t perform well.

In the last few months, I’ve learned to be so patient with myself, I’ve started to remind myself why I started my account in the first place – to share my love for veganism, and my work is worth so much more than a like count.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I create content for vegan/plant-based brands and restaurants, help brands grow by selecting new products and flavors, recipe develope, promote health and wellness products, promote small local businesses in Chicago and Kansas City, share my daily lifestyle, vegan finds, and what I eat in a day.

I think I’m probably most known for sharing how much veganism has grown within the last couple of years. People love to tease that I eat grass, dirt, and cardboard but one look at my Instagram page and they are genuinely surprised at the variety of foods they see. Just like everyone else, I crave a burger or cookies and ice cream from time to time, I can still have those, they just happen to be made vegan but are just as if not more delicious. Most of the time, people can’t even tell the difference.

I’m most proud of myself and my journey of being vegan. I always joke that no one can tell me that I have commitment issues because I’ve been vegan for nearly six years but within those six, I’ve felt the healthiest and happiest I ever have and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything – that’s not to say I don’t still have bad days. I’ve recently opened up about my anxiety and mental health on Instagram and while I can’t fully explain it, it’s really helped me grow as a person. I’ve often been the type of person to keep my emotions to myself but a lot of my following has made me feel so loved and supported. So much of Instagram and social media is a highlight reel and I think it’s important to show the bad too.

There are so many times I’ve posted a picture even on one of my hardest days, but no one knows that. I think it’s important to share that even though some days I post my Instagram-able avocado toast and latte, I very well could have been crying an hour prior. I think that sets me aside from a lot of “creators” who only post and share their good days.

How do you think about happiness?
Absolutely 1000000% my friends it’s not always easy choosing to live 500 miles away from my family but I am so beyond lucky to have found a group of friends that make Kansas City feel like home.

Being in my 20s is often hard and confusing but I’ve surrounded myself with people that get me through the toughest of times, my friends bring me so much joy and I wholeheartedly believe I have the best support system in the world.

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1 Comment

  1. Meg

    November 4, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    LOVED this article! Cynthia, you are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your story and being open enough to talk about normal feelings and obstacles 🤍

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